Rookie Flash Selection

Started Oct 30, 2011 | Discussions thread
rsn48 Veteran Member • Posts: 7,429
Metz 24 AF-1

I'm about half way through a review I will post here, but I'll give you this recommendation regardless. The Metz 24 is a fully integrated flash with Canon, in fact Metz is one of the oldest flash companies around, roughly 58 years old. Because it has been around so long, it is considered to be the best third party clone of Canon flashes, often with some better features.

Flash ratings as you have already discovered, are given with guide numbers, this number can be misleading. The Canon 270 appears stronger than the Metz 24 but it isn't. Think of a flash light that has a rotating head, as you rotate it the light beam becomes wider, but not as bright, then narrower and brighter. So a flash unit, just like the flash light has only one power, but spreading or narrowing the beam, the light becomes weaker or brighter, the brighter it becomes the higher the guide number.

I've had the Metz 24 AF-1 for roughly a two months and I have taken more pics with it than all my other flashes combined, including my newer Metz 48 AF-1, the equivalent of Canon's 430.

The Metz flash has a "fixed" head set at 35mm, the Canon 220 is set at 28 and the Canon 270 has 28 and 50, the 27 guide number is based on the 50 head setting so the flash is actually not as strong, the "base" power (like the flash light power), as the Metz 24.

The camera controls the flash, just as in the Canon 220 and 270. If your camera doesn't have a function such as high speed synch, such as the 5D, you won't have HSS, even though the flash does support this. The Metz 24 becomes an integral part of your camera. Like the 270 and unlike the 220, it has a bounce head, but if you look at a picture of one you would think this wasn't the case, the head appears to be all one piece with the rest of the flash, but the actual lens tilts up, in a variety of degrees.

Here's a link to how the head works in ceiling bounce only; like the Canon 270 it can only ceiling bounce.

The last thing you need to know is that this flash can amaze you, just as the Canon 220 and 270 would, when you boost ISO. For every ISO doubling, you multiply the guide number by 1.4 to get a rough guide number for the new ISO. The Metz and Canon flashes mentioned here are all rated at 100 ISO.

So at 100 ISO, the metz is 24.
At 200 ISO, it is 33.6 (lets say 36)
At 400 ISO, it is 47.
At 800 ISO, it is 66.
At 1600 ISO, it is 92. (So a football field length).

I use this flash frequently outside. I went on a wine tour with my wife about four weeks ago in the Kelowna BC area for the Fall Wine Festival. I brought three lens and the flash along, shooting with my 5D 2. The Festival was the rainiest and cloudiest I have seen in the 10 years we have been going. So I stuck on my Canon 50mm f1.8 mk 1 lens and often touched up the scene with flash. If you shoot in Av mode, your camera is automatically in fill flash, so combining this setting with Flash Compensation (FC), you have excellent control of your light. By the way, to increase confusion, you can also use Exposure Compensation (EC), but be aware in fill flash mode, EC affects the ambient light (background light) and not the intensity of the flash, FC adjusts the flash power.

I was faced with one scene outside with cement long benches built into a hill side, the scene was roughly 70 yards deep. When I took my first pic, I liked the patterns of the benches against the green, the image was bland due to the cloudy conditions, contrast was flat. I then bumped up my ISO to 800 and shot, I was stunned to see all of the benches lit up and much brighter, the "little" Metz 24 did the job.

So why get the Metz 24 AF-1 versus the Canon 220 or Canon 270? Well in Vancouver where I purchased mine, it was $89, the other Canon flashes were more than twice that much. And like the Canon 220, but not the Canon 270, it comes equipped with infra-red bounce light to aid in low light focusing. You can turn the flash off (in the camera menu) and still be able to use the IR beam in low light conditions even though you are not using the flash light.

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An excellent lens lasts a lifetime, an excellent DSLR, not so long.

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